Hey there, today I’m going to talk about perception.
Perception really is a BIG deal, perception of self, perception of others, and how others perceive you.
Your perception of your self and how others perceive you directly affects how successful you are in any given area of life. An exercise I gave in last week’s article was designed to shift your self-perception. Until we see ourselves as being of great value and having outstanding products and services to offer, we’re not going to crack this game.
Perception Determines Whether We Get Paid or Not
Understanding perception and defining perception determines whether you get paid or not.
Let me explain this with an example, you may have seen or heard this before.
In 2007, the Washington Post ran an experiment in context, perception and priorities. A young man stood in a Washington Metro Station and played a violin for 43 minutes whilst 1097 people walked past. In that time, the violinist made $32.17 and a couple of people stopped briefly to listen to him play.
The guy playing the violin was Joshua Bell, one of the world’s greatest classical musicians who sells out shows for the minimum of $100 a ticket. He was playing on a 3.5 million dollar violin.
It doesn’t matter that this man is by far and away the greatest living violinist, or that he played some of the most difficult and intricate compositions in the world. Almost nobody paid him with attention, time or money.
How Do You Perceive Value?
This leads me to discuss how humans perceive and attribute value to things. Perception is the result of the information you’re given about something, as well the beliefs you form in relation to it, and context plays a role as well, but I don’t think it’s as important as perception and resulting beliefs.
In the case of Joshua Bell, only one person who passed through that metro station knew who he was, and she stopped to listen. The other two people who stopped to listen knew enough about the music being played to have an appreciation for the violinist’s ability to do so with such grace and finesse.
In order to be paid attention, time or money, your audience needs to be informed about who you are and your history – or story – that qualifies you and your product or service. If the commuters in the metro station were told:
- the violinist was one of the world’s greatest classical musicians
- they would normally have to pay at least $100 to listen to him play
- he was playing some of the most intricate and difficult compositions ever written
They would have the information needed to shift their perceptions about the performance. The information would have changed the beliefs they formed about the musician and what he was playing, and their shift in perception and beliefs would in turn affect their actions. I’m not saying that everyone would have stopped and listened and paid him money, but he certainly would have been paid a lot more of the commuters’ time, attention and money.
How Does Perception Affect Your Business?
So, how does this relate to your business? Your audience needs to know how and why you qualify to be deserving of their attention, time and money. Your audience needs to know what makes you and your product or service so different, valuable and compelling that it’s in their best interests to pay you with some of their time, attention and money.
It’s that simple. The problem is, even though it is simple, it’s also annoyingly tricky. The whole world is out there vying for your customer’s time, attention and money. You need to provide the most compelling and comprehensive body of evidence that you’re among the top trustworthy and qualified authorities in your niche.
How Do You Accomplish This?
- Kerry McDuling’s posts offer a number of surefire ways to generate publicity for your business that help you create a compelling and comprehensive body of evidence for your customers.
- Great character testimonials and rave reviews from clients or peers via social media is another way to accomplish this.
- I’ve mentioned leveraging your profile by association in a previous post. This works wonders because when you’re associated with a high profile person, people immediately perceive you differently, form different beliefs about your value and act accordingly.
All of these are exercises in directing perception.
Which Option Will Work Best For You?
All of these options will work depending on where your strengths lie. And having an established client base and strong connections is always going to help. There’s nothing stopping you from trying all three, even if you are just starting out, the main thing is to understand that you need to provide value in every case and be aware of the etiquette required for each scenario.
Option 1 can work well if you’re just starting and need to build a client or fan base. You still need very compelling and newsworthy information to have it selected for publication or broadcast, and you need to understand how the publicity game is played.
Option 2 works well if you already have some raving fans or peers who love what you’re doing.
Option 3 works well if you have created some strong relationships over time with high profile people and can offer them something that significantly enhances the value of their product or service in order for them to endorse you and yours.
I would consider trying every angle and then work on the 80/20 rule and focus on whichever one gives you the most bang for your buck. Have fun & good luck!
P.S. I’m going to be giving away the latest model Kindle as part of my upcoming book launch on Amazon. Stay tuned for details over the next few weeks